Andrew McCutchen reiterates that he’s interested in sticking with the Pirates, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports. “[E]veryone knows I want to be here,” McCutchen says. “So that’s nothing new to anyone.” McCutchen has repeatedly maintained his interest in staying in Pittsburgh beyond the expiration of his contract following the 2018 season (or the 2017 season, in the unlikely event that the Bucs don’t exercise his 2018 option), and he’s also said he doesn’t define himself in terms of how much money he makes. According to Stark, though, McCutchen was cautious when asked whether he would take a hometown discount to stay with the Bucs. “I still stick with the [idea that] money doesn’t define me because it doesn’t,” he says. “But it’s not altered like that in this game. No one plays for free. People rarely ever work for free. But you know, whenever that time comes, that time comes. But I’m trying not to think about it too much.” The question, from the Pirates’ perspective, is whether there’s a way to extend McCutchen that makes sense within their budget. They already control him through his age-31 season, and they might not want to pay what the market would consider a fair salary for a player of McCutchen’s talent — surely over $20MM a year — for what could turn out to be decline years in his thirties. Here’s more on the Bucs.
- Backup catcher Chris Stewart is happy to have received a multi-year deal this winter, MLB.com’s Adam Berry writes. Stewart’s deal was modest — he’ll get just $2.75MM total for 2016 and 2017, along with a $250K buyout on a cheap option in 2018. But it gives him more of a sense of stability than he’s previously had in his career. “Knowing that I’ll be here for more than a year — hopefully three or more, that’s the goal — that’s something I’m not used to,” he says. Stewart is slated to back up Francisco Cervelli in 2016, and then could back up Elias Diaz, a prospect with a good defensive reputation, in 2017 if Cervelli isn’t extended.
- Top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow appears likely to make an impact sometime in the coming season, but the Pirates also considered promoting him during the 2015 campaign, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “We had legitimate discussions about (calling up) Tyler last year,” says Pirates GM Neal Huntington. “Ultimately, we felt it was in his and our best interest to continue the development and command of the fastball, the consistency of his breaking ball, the ability to throw it for a strike and for a chase, and to develop the changeup (in Triple-A).” He now seems likely to have to wait to be promoted until June, after the passing of the Super Two threshold. That’s what the Bucs did with Gerrit Cole three years ago, and Cole says it had no ill effects on him. “It’s actually better; you kind of light a fire under somebody,” Cole says “And he gets an opportunity to fine-tune his routine.”